January 2012

Remembering Jerry

All of us at the ranch want to thank those of you who have written such eloquent and heartfelt notes to us on the blog, on Facebook and via email.  We really appreciate your support in the past couple days since we lost Jerry.

For those of you who have inquired, there will be services in Indiana on Friday, January 27 at 11am.  I don’t have all the details on that service at this time.

Jerry’s Colorado family and friends will celebrate his life at the ranch on Sunday, January 29 from 2-4.

Please keep the wonderful notes, messages and thoughts coming about Jerry in lieu of flowers.  We are keeping them all for Peggy and her family.  Also, if any of you have a nice photo of Jerry at the ranch, we would love to be able to put together a slideshow of his cowboy days.  If you do have a photo, please send it along to Krista at info@vistaverde.com. This ranch was his dream, and we want to remember him living it to the fullest.


Ride on Cowboy

The Vista Verde Ranch family suffered a heartbreaking loss last night with the passing of owner Jerry Throgmartin.  He passed suddenly and unexpectedly after becoming ill.

Jerry and Peggy purchased Vista Verde in 2006 and invested their love, time and resources into making it not only the best ranch to visit, but the best place to work.  His support and dedication to the ranch team, the guest experience and the place we all love was tremendous.  Jerry touched so many lives and left an incredible legacy at the ranch.  It’s been a pleasure to see him live out his childhood dream of being a rancher—and even a greater delight to see him fall in love with the hospitality industry and creating the guest experience.  What many people did not get to see is how much time and energy he put into developing us as a management team.  He was, quite simply, the best person to work for.

At this time, we appreciate all your messages of love and support.  If we don’t respond right away, please know that we are thankful for the support.   Jerry was a sincere man of faith and even though his departure is an incredible loss to us, his family takes comfort that this has all been a part of God’s plan.  While we seek to comfort one another, the beauty of a ranch is that it is a reminder that life doesn’t stop.  Horses need to be fed, meals need to be cooked, and snow needs to be shoveled.

Many have asked how they can show their support at this time.  We are asking in lieu of flowers for guests to send a note with any memories of Jerry and what the ranch has meant to you.  He took great joy in sharing this “piece of heaven” with others.  We will share these notes with Peggy and Nicky as well as the ranch team.   Also, please feel free to post any messages on this blog or our Facebook page.  We will share it all with his family.

More details will follow about Jerry and services planned in Colorado.   In the meantime, we are thinking of Jerry riding his horse, sharing laughter with friends and family, with the sun shining on his back.  Ride on, Cowboy.  We love you and God bless.

Startle.com (part of Forbes Travel Guide)- January 2012

Saddle Up for Luxe Cowboy Getaways

  • Posted by Startle Editor Caroline Patek
  • January 11th, 2012 03:00 AM

What if you could learn the ins and outs of life as a cowboy (or cowgirl) while on a luxury vacation? Strap into your stirrups and get your best wrangling arm ready, because we’ve got three ranch getaways to check out:

The Little Nell. This year, the Five-Star Aspen hotel will introduce “Cowboy Camp 101,” a new overnight horse pack trip catering to families who want to experience the rugged outdoors. Try out backcountry living by creating your own fire, catching your own fish and horseback riding to Snowmass Lake. Kids will learn fly-fishing, about insect life and how to clean and cook their catch.

The Resort at Paws Up. You’ll have plenty of space to explore the outdoors at this 37,000-square-foot working cattle ranch in Greenough, Mont. The resort is chock-full of ranch activities and outings: Wrangle a herd during a cattle drive or practice your hatchet throwing. Competitive types can sign up for one of the resort’s big game-hunting or fly-fishing adventures, where you’ll survey the surrounding lush land and hone skills like trailing your prey and casting a line.

Vista Verde Ranch. Head to Steamboat Springs, Colo., to relax on a dude ranch. Aside from gourmet food, personal service and cozy-chic accommodations, the all-inclusive ranch also offers its fair share of outdoor activities to satisfy your inner John Wayne. During the fall, participate in a weeklong cattle roundup. First, immerse yourself in various cattle drive clinics, and then go out on the trail, searching out cows on 16,000 acres in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests.

Snow Dances

It’s nice to know that Mother Nature can call us all out on ever thinking we can control anything in life.   After last winter’s amazing snow fall, breaking records left and right, and leaving us piles of snow to start our summer season in June, this winter has gone the other direction.  As you can see from the photos (credit to amazing staff photography Jessica Eck!), there is some snow, and it is beautiful out here, we just get spoiled out here and have pretty high expectations.

In November, when we received about 3 feet of snow, we thought we were off to an early start of the winter resort season in Colorado.  December rolled around and it wasn’t as generous.  The staff came in for training, and there wasn’t any fresh snow.  But we still had so much from November, that we weren’t concerned.  As orientation went along, we all just kept thinking, “The fresh snow will come”.  And then it never did.  This same mindset played into the holidays, when we kept expecting that we would wake up to a White Christmas, and never did.  Having so much snow in November still made it a winter wonderland out here, and still allowed us to get out and enjoy the snow on skis, snowshoes, horses, sleighs, and snow tubes.  But, like I said before, we’re kind of spoiled out here and used to fresh snow gracing us frequently!

Last weekend, we had a beautiful dump of fresh snow, that added another great layer to the white frosting on the roofs of the cabins and Lodge.  It allowed Charlie to groom a little more of our ski trails, and for the guides to get to some terrain that they hadn’t skied for a little while.  This morning, the wind is kicking in and another storm should be rolling into the area.  We’ll see how much snow this storm brings, but are just grateful for anything we get these days!

So, my mantra this year has been, “Do your snow dances!”.  What’s a snow dance?  It’s whatever you want it to be.  Grooving to funky tunes, rocking out to the 80’s, sliding to a salsa beat, you name it.  Just turn up the tunes, think about snow, and start dancing!  Here’s the best part of it:  you will burn calories, have some fun, and it will help you get in shape for you to come out and strap on some skis to enjoy the fruits of your labor!  I have no idea if snow dances work, and the inner cynic in me doesn’t even want to think about it….but it’s fun so go with it.  Do your snow dances, and I’ll let you know if it’s working!

Ringing in the New Year at Vista Verde Ranch

Whew, where did the time go?  The holidays seem to be a bit of a vortex of time for all of us at the ranch.  From the whirlwind of getting the staff back in action, training the newbies, and getting everything in tip top shape to open for the season, to all the festivities of the holidays (more about that in a bit) to shuttling people to and from the airport, getting them out on skis, horses, sleds, sleighs, etc….it seems like December 1 rolls in and next thing we know we’re singing Happy New Year!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, surrounded by great people and a festivities.

Our holiday season seemed to be broken down into 3 pieces.  There were the folks who came out prior to Christmas and helped us kick off our season.  This was a smaller group of guests and we really enjoyed sharing some fun with them and gearing up for Santa’s arrival.  As they headed home, the Christmas guests rolled in.  What a great group of guests.  We deocorated gingerbread houses, sang carols around the fire, on the sleigh, and all around the ranch.  The Christmas day feast was amazing thanks to Chef Matt and his wonderfully hard working crew.  In the following days, this group of guests headed home to their realities while another group of guests rolled in to ring in the New Year with us.  Once again, we were surrounded with laughter, great energy and fun folks.  Our annual New Year’s progressive dinner started with a sleigh ride and some skiers, great food and a beautiful evening.  Following several stops and about 6 courses, we finished up in the Great Room with the highly anticipated boot drop.  Yes, we are fuddy duddies and this happens long before midnight.  But, when you are playing hard in the snow all day, you need your sleep!

One of my highlights of the holidays was getting an “office pass” as Charlie likes to call it, and going out to lead a snowshoe tour up by Hahn’s Peak.  It was a beautiful day, and I got to have a ton of fun with Holly, Tim and Ted.  Lucky me.

Now we are into our adult only times, and with that comes the many honeymooners, some romantic vacation seekers, some getting away with friends, and some just sneaking away on their own for a bit of R&R.  We’re enjoying the crew here this week.  There are some here for their first time, some back after not being here for a while, and even one gal who just snuck away from close by to snowshoe and relax.  It’s a great way to start the New Year!

Here’s to a great year for all of you!  We hope to have you join us in 2012.  We’re filling up for the winter season, but there are still spots here and there. Surprisingly, we have room leading up to Valentine’s Day….so get your sweetheart and come out for a memorable Valentine’s Day getaway this year!